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Lützerath: Police deny “staging” with Thunberg

Police officers hold Greta Thunberg during the Lützerath protests while photographers take her pictures – this scene sparked accusations of “staging” on social media. A spokesman for the Aachen police rejected the print today.

The scene took place when Thunberg and other climate activists demonstrated yesterday on the edge of the Rhine lignite mining area, which was dangerous and therefore prohibited. All group members were briefly detained to determine their personal details. The spokesperson emphasized that it was not an arrest.

Not “posing” with an activist

In this situation, Thunberg was photographed by photojournalists who were present. Allowing this is a requirement of press freedom, the police spokesman said. The police officers definitely would not have “posed” with the activist. When it was Thunberg’s turn, her data was recorded. The activist group was then removed from the edge of the mine and later “released from police measure”. All activists were treated equally.

3,700 police officers deployed in Lützerath

Up to 3,700 police officers were on duty at the same time during the evacuation. This emerges from a report by the Ministry of the Interior of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to the state parliament.

Most employees were on duty on Friday. On Saturday, when there were riots on the sidelines of the demonstration against the eviction, there were 3,300 people.

Burning barricades had already been erected prior to the evacuation. Pyrotechnics, paint bags and rocks were hurled in the direction of police and RWE officials. 372 people would have left Lützerath voluntarily, 159 would have had to be taken away by the police.

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At Saturday’s demonstration, several thousand demonstrators left the approved demonstration route and headed towards Lützerath. Attempts to break through police lines to Lützerath were thwarted with batons and water cannons. Water cannons were used only with the “rain” function, there were no water jets directed at the disruptors.

The North Rhine-Westphalia police were supported by forces from almost all federal states and the federal government. Statistical recording of criminal charges, arrests and pre-trial detentions is still ongoing. NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) reported 180 criminal charges on Monday.